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Maritzburg joined at top by Micho’s Orlando Pirates

FILE PHOTO: Micho guides his team in training. He has tightened the team defence. PHOTO ORLANDO PIRATES

Johannesburg, South Africa | AFP |  Maritzburg United surrendered their perfect start to the South African Premiership season Tuesday, allowing Orlando Pirates to join them at the top of the table.

United conceded two minutes from time in Durban to draw 1-1 at promoted AmaZulu, having taken the lead through an own goal.

Rare starter Bernard Morrison from Ghana struck after nine minutes to earn Pirates a 1-0 win over Ajax Cape Town in Soweto.

Maritzburg and former African champions Pirates have seven points from three matches, with United top of the fledgling table on goal difference.

Cape Town City, now the only club with a 100 percent record, can take top spot if they win at home to Kaizer Chiefs Wednesday.

Pretoria neighbours SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns — considered two of the likeliest title challengers — also have six points.

SuperSport took 85 minutes to break down bottom-of-the-table Platinum Stars and a stoppage-time goal by New Zealander Jeremy Brockie completed a 2-0 win.

African champions Mamelodi Sundowns triumphed 2-1 at Free State Stars Monday with Percy Tau coming off the bench to bag a brace.

The other matches produced surprise away victories for Bloemfontein Celtic and Baroka, who had to top a post-season mini-league to dodge relegation this year.

Celtic won 2-1 at Polokwane City, who stunned Sundowns in the previous round, and Baroka triumphed 3-1 over Chippa United in Port Elizabeth.

Following two trophy-less seasons, Pirates rehired Serb Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic, 10 years after he had a brief spell in charge.

Sredojevic prospered since leaving South Africa, winning league titles in Ethiopia and Sudan and taking Uganda this year to the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time since 1978.

While Pirates are very much a work in progress judged by the Ajax match, he has tightened a defence that was threatened by the Cape Town outfit only in the dying minutes.

Tashreeq Morris forced a reflex save from Wayne Sandilands and later blazed over when he should at least have been on target.

“We must learn to kill off games,” stressed Sredojevic, “There is a lot of room for improvement.”

Maritzburg would have fancied their chances of a third consecutive league win when former United midfield enforcer Michael Morton conceded an own goal with 11 minutes remaining.

But AmaZulu, who finished well down the second division table last season before buying the franchise of the table toppers, equalised through Mhlengi Cele.

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